SINGAPORE - The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is investigating what seems to be blue pellets or stains on vegetables bought from supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice, after several consumers flagged the issue online.
As of Wednesday (Sept 27), at least three consumers have posted photos of the affected vegetables on the NTUC FairPrice's Facebook page, asking for an explanation for the presence of the blue substance.
In some photos, the blue substance appears as a solid pellet, while in others, it appears to be liquid stains.
"Based on the photos, the blue stains could be due to use of a copper-based fungicide, which is approved to be used in agriculture, and can be easily removed through thorough washing before consumption. Traces of copper can also be found naturally in plants and animals," said a spokesman from the AVA on Wednesday, following queries from The Straits Times.
Samples will be taken from the vegetables for food safety tests, added the spokesman.
Ms Sally Lim bought a packet of Shanghai Greens from the supermarket's outlet at Compassvale Link last Saturday. When she returned home to cut and wash the vegetables, she was surprised to find that there was a blue substance on the stems.
"When I washed the vegetables, the substance ran off like watercolour paint. This is the first time I've experienced this," said the 49-year-old financial consultant.
She later returned to the supermarket branch to exchange the produce for a pack of Malaysian baby bak choy, and received a refund for the difference in cost, she told ST.
"I felt very frightened and uncomfortable because we eat these vegetables daily," said Ms Lim, who added that she will stop buying vegetables from the supermarket chain until an explanation for the blue substance is provided by the company.
Another consumer, Mr Jeff Yeo, 40, said he also found the blue substance in a packet of vegetables labelled Japanese Greens that he had bought from a Bishan outlet on Saturday.
He said he is concerned about the potential health issues that may arise from eating the vegetables, and questioned if consumers are being cheated by importers or farmers overseas.
In photos posted by Ms Lim and Mr Yeo, both packets of vegetables were labelled as products of China.
According to a comment left on Mr Yeo's Facebook post by NTUC FairPrice, the supermarket chain said it "will bring this up to the supplier for investigation".
AVA also added in their statement that food safety is a shared responsibility and encouraged consumers to practise food safety measures such as soaking and washing vegetables before eating or cooking.
ST has contacted NTUC FairPrice for more information.